Does Walking Increase Testosterone Levels?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Low testosterone levels have been linked with numerous health issues, including obesity and diabetes.
Men who are in danger of hypogonadism due to low levels are particularly at risk - however regular physical activity such as walking can help increase testosterone levels to prevent hypogonadism from setting in.
What is testosterone and why is it important?
People usually associate testosterone with male sexual performance. Studies have linked its increased production with greater strength, power, body hair growth and an enhanced sex drive.
However it influences much wider areas such as emotions, cognition and language abilities as well. It has even been linked with status seeking aggression and sexual misconduct but can inspire positive actions as well.
Testosterone (T) production takes place within your body through Leydig cells found in your testicles, while women produce it via their adrenal glands and ovaries. Production of testosterone is closely managed to provide only what's necessary, with most being converted to estrogen via testes or ovaries prior to entering circulation in men.
Both women and men utilize testosterone to facilitate internal and external reproductive organ development during fetal development and production of sperm during adulthood.
Testosterone levels typically peak in men's late twenties before starting to decline with age - some use supplements as part of hypogonadism treatment and others seek medical help for low testosterone levels.
Your daily testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, typically peaking early morning before falling to their daytime low by 10 a.m.
Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland control how much testosterone your gonads (testicles or ovaries) produce.
They send signals when your body needs more of this hormone, your gonads then release the appropriate amount, however, problems in any one of these three areas could affect how your testosterone levels adjust themselves accordingly.
Low testosterone - causes and symptoms
Testosterone is an androgen hormone essential to healthy libido, sexual drive, bone density, mental wellbeing, muscle mass development and hair growth.
Additionally, testosterone regulates blood sugar, assists weight management and boosts immunity - though levels may decrease with age and its lack can have severe repercussions in terms of both long-term effects and immunity support.
Foods that can increase testosterone include fatty fish, egg yolks and dark leafy green vegetables with omega-3 fatty acids. Futher nutrients to consider include vitamin D, iron, boron and zinc.
While excess refined carbohydrates and processed fats may have an adverse impact on testosterone levels, as can too much alcohol consumption.
A study published in2020 discovered that eating too many refined carbs may trigger inflammation within Leydig cells that produce testosterone.
This inflammation may reduce sperm counts while increasing sexual drive as well as hinder muscle building capabilities.
An inactive lifestyle can reduce testosterone levels. A recent study of military recruits concluded that men who spend most of their time sitting down and watching television had anegative effect on testicular function and testosterone levels.
Chronic illnesses, particularly cancer or inflammation-based conditions, may also reduce testosterone levels; some medications, including steroids, corticosteroids and antidepressants may have an impact on them as well.
Research indicates that environmental exposures can have a devastating impact on testosterone levels, as research demonstrates exposure to chemicals can decrease testosterone production.
Endocrine disrupting plastics, pesticides and personal care products contain substances known to interfere with proper hormone function and lead to decreased testosterone production.
Low T symptoms can include fatigue, depression, irritability and an inability to erectile function as well as muscle mass loss. Testosterone plays an essential role in men's sexual health and happiness - the more you have the healthier and happier you'll be!
The link between exercise and testosterone
Researching the relationship between exercise and testosterone remains ongoing; but one thing is evident, a lack of physical activity can result in low levels of the male hormone, leading to symptoms ranging from decreased muscle mass and fat gain to brittle bones.
Conversely, research demostrates that regular physical activity can boost levels and prevent various health issues.
One study investigating the effects of exercise on hormones and blood pressure found that men who engaged in regular activity decreased their risk of heart disease by 21% while also decreasing risk from all causes by 29%.
Studies have demonstrated that resistance exercises like weightlifting and high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, can temporarily increase testosterone levels.
But its effects can vary widely depending on factors like type, intensity and volume of work being completed.
One study comparing free weight (i.e. squats) with machine weight exercises revealed greater elevation of plasma testosterone following free weight exercise than with machine weight workouts.
Researchers have also revealed that performing multiple sets of high repetition exercises, like push-ups, can significantly boost testosterone levels in both young and older men alike.
Not only did testosterone rise with this workout session but other sex hormones like growth hormone also increased significantly.
An increased level of testosterone hormone has been linked with increased lean muscle mass, reduced fat mass and better metabolic function. Furthermore, testosterone may play an integral part in bone density preventing osteoporosis while improving calcium absorption.
Studies on walking and testosterone levels
Studies of the relationship between walking and testosterone levels are limited, although one cross-sectional study with 696 men revealed that those who reported higher levels of vigorous physical activity (3 or more hours a week of walking or jogging) had higher serum testosterone concentrations compared with those who did not engage in these forms of activity.
Unfortunately, however, this self-report approach to PA could result in recall bias issues.
Hypogonadism is a medical condition characterized by low levels of testosterone in men. A 2021 study suggests that there may be a link between daily physical activity and the development of hypogonadism.
This study conducted in the US, it was found that men who took fewer daily steps had a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with hypogonadism. These findings highlight the importance of regular exercise in maintaining healthy testosterone levels in men.
Lifestyle factors that can cause low testosterone
Testosterone levels naturally decrease with age, but certain habits and conditions that you can influence such as food consumption, sleep duration and activity levels as well as smoking status can sabotage testosterone production.
Low T can result in low libido, infertility and muscle loss while other emotional/psychological side-effects include less interest in work/sex relationships or less enthusiasm to get out there and exercise, depression or feelings of sadness.
Eating foods rich in nutrients such as vitamin D, magnesium and zinc will help your testosterone levels to remain balanced. Make sure you include fortified milk and yogurt products, fatty fish, lean meats, whole grains and vegetables into your daily meals for maximum effectiveness.
Stress can negatively impact natural testosterone production. Smoking, obesity and drinking too much alcohol also have the ability to lower testosterone levels.
Others lifestyle factors include certain medical conditions (diabetes and high blood pressure) as well as cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy resulting in decreased levels of testosterone production.
Furthermore, hypogonadism may also result from undescended testicles from childhood which never were corrected, Klinefelter syndrome (an abnormality of chromosomes), damage to pituitary gland or hypothalamus as well as damage done when treating cancerous tumors requiring chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatments.
Natural Supplements to Increase Testosterone
Natural supplements to increase testosterone are dietary herbs and nutrients designed to support healthy levels of the hormone in men, providing them with the means to enhance physical and sexual performance without experiencing adverse side effects from synthetic testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This nonprescription treatment option may even allow them to avoid prescription TRT treatments entirely!
D-aspartic acid, fenugreek extract, and boron are among the top natural supplements that can boost testosterone. All three ingredients can be found in Military Muscle.
The clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy at improving strength, muscle mass, endurance, fatigue reduction, overall health improvement, and stress relief.
Other evidence-informed ingredinets found in Military Muscle include the following:
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D has long been touted for its ability to increase testosterone production within the body by stimulating LH, leading Leydig cells in testes to produce more testosterone, increasing it by 20% on average over time with daily supplementation of vitamin D.
Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) can be used to produce herbal teas and extracts with proven effects in clinical trials to increase testosterone, sperm count and motility as well as reduce stress.
With adaptogenic properties which reduce stress levels it makes Ashwagandha an excellent option for men suffering from low testosterone due to chronically elevated cortisol levels or certain diseases and medications.
These supplements should be taken regularly over six months before showing results, with some even needing longer term usage.
Testosterone is an essential sex hormone produced in both men and women's adrenal glands and testes/ovaries, and when levels drop too low it can have serious repercussions for health such as decreased libido and muscle loss.
Testosterone naturally declines with age but also dips during times of stress; replenishing it through regular exercise may make you feel more energetic while possibly leading to an enhanced sexual life!
Researchers conducted one study analyzing testosterone and cortisol levels in subjects who underwent high-intensity endurance workouts, and they discovered that longer workouts resulted in decreased testosterone production - possibly because an increase in cortisol inhibited their bodies ability to produce testosterone. They theorized that this could be related to increased levels of cortisol which reduced production.
Similar research demonstrated that high intensity interval training (HIIT), which includes sprinting cardio exercises with short rest periods, was more successful in raising testosterone than long distance running. These findings indicate intensity is key when it comes to raising T-levels after workouts.
However, these all concern bouts of high activity exercise, what about the sedate activity of walking?
Well, a study published in the Endocrine journal found that those neb who walked less than 4000 steps per day were significantly more likely to have low testosterone levels than men who walked more.